Mac desktop organizationSource: iMore

There's no best way to organize your Mac desktop. One thing is certain, however. If you feel your desktop is disorganized, it's wise to do something about it. We suggest any number of organizing techniques, including the ones below.

How to add folders to your desktop

Perhaps the simplest way to organize your Mac's desktop is by adding folders, which you can use to separate content based on a purpose. For example, you may want to add folders for personal and work use. Another solution might be to create folders for different projects.

To create a folder on Mac:

  1. With the secondary click activated, right-click in an empty area on the desktop.
  2. Choose New Folder. You can also use the Command-Shift-N keyboard shortcut.

    Mac create new desktop folder

  3. Click on the title of the folder you just created
  4. Change the name of the folder to suit your needs.
  5. Click Enter.

    Mac change folder name

Now you can drag any items you want into the new folder.

How to align and sort desktop items automatically on Mac

To add some structure to the placement of your desktop folders and files, you can sort them into a grid.

  1. Right-click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click on Clean Up By.
  3. Choose the option you want. Your options are:

    • Name
    • Kind
    • Date Modified
    • Date Created
    • Size
    • Tags

    Mac desktop cleanup by

How to keep all your desktop files in a grid formation on Mac

If your desktop has lost all structure and files are in every corner, you can easily snap them back into a grid formation,

  1. Right-click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click on Sort By.
  3. Click Snap to Grid.

    Mac snap to grid

Now, until you change it, all your files will always snap to a grid. If you want to reverse it, you can follow the same steps listed above.

How to change the grid spacing on the desktop on Mac

  1. Right-click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click Show View Options.
  3. Adjust the grid spacing with the slider.

    Mac desktop grid spacing

How to adjust the size of desktop icons on Mac

If you think the icons on your screen are too small or too big, you can easily change their size.

  1. Right-click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click Show View Options.
  3. Adjust the icon size with the slider.

    Mac change icon size

How to use macOS Stacks to organize your desktop

With the built-in Stacks feature in macOS, you can organize your desktop into stacks of files grouped by categories and keeps it organized as you save new files.

To turn Stacks on:

  1. Choose View from the Finder menu bar.
  2. Select Use Stacks. You can also right-click anywhere on your desktop, then choose Use Stacks from the shortcut menu.

    Mac stacks

Each file is now part of a Stack unless it's the only file of its kind on your desktop. Folders appear just below stacks.

How to create multiple Mac desktops

Another solution to organizing your desktop is to split it into two. Or three, and so forth. With Mission Control, you can create differences Spaces, which are fundamentally different iterations of your desktop If you find your current desktop is getting a little crowded, you can create a new Space.

Third-party solutions

Finally, there are third-party app solutions to consider to organize your Mac desktop. Three of our favorites include:

Declutter: With this app, you can use smart folders to organize your content by images, videos, documents, and music. Think of it as an advanced version of Apple's Stacks. Declutter is part of the Setapp subscription service.

Magnet: Available in the Mac App Store, Magnet lets you create different workspaces on your desktop. In doing so, you can eliminate app switching and improve your productivity.

iCollections: With this app, also available in the Mac App Store, you can create different areas on your desktop, making it ideal for sorting and arranging icons in a fun and efficient way.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about macOS Catalina or organizing your desktop? Do you have solutions not listed here? Let us know in the comments below!

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.